On-stage I made the offhanded comment, “This show turned out better than I thought. Now I’m sorry I left my car running.”
After the show, a gentleman came up to me and said, “So you really didn’t know what you were walking into tonight.” And I said, “No, not really.”
I had never been to this restaurant before and this was their first time doing comedy. It could have been a disaster. (Been there, played that.) But a couple of things helped. First, the booker stacked the deck with a good emcee, a local guest spot, a strong feature and an experienced headliner. (I was the latter.) Second, the audience was there to see a comedy show. The power of this cannot be underestimated. An audience held hostage by a show they don’t want is torturous for everyone. So by the time I got on-stage it was cake. Delicious.
But honestly, I never know how any show will go. As a professional comedian, you can make certain assumptions about what a free-standing comedy club will be like versus a restaurant, college, or theater; a night gig versus a day gig; an outdoor event versus an indoor arena. But the truth is, every show is different because every audience is different. Midway through my set the wireless mic battery died. This is a pain in the ass, momentum killer. But a fast battery change by the DJ kept the show moving. (Thank goodness for witty banter and theater voice training.)
But once again, you just never know. I show up with my “A” game – my jokes and joy – hoping it will be enough. Sometimes, it’s not. Tonight it was good and plenty.
And now, back to Wakanda.